Tag Archives: tomato

Roasted Tomato Bloody Mary Mix

As someone lacking a green thumb, I am in awe of those with a natural passion for gardening. In our own neighborhood alone, it’s impossible to walk a block without spotting a beautiful window flower-box or an array of strategically placed potted plants. Our friends, TJ and Jenny, have a lush, backyard garden, and they put a lot of care into keeping it healthy and abundant. Not only is it an attractive feature of their home, it’s as functional as it is eye-catching.

Tomatoes from TJ and Jenny's garden.

Tomatoes from TJ and Jenny’s garden.

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Tomato and Pineapple Salad with Garlic Chips

We all eat and drink with our eyes first – I drool as soon as I see the cover of Philadelphia Magazine’s “Top 50 Restaurants” issue every year. Elite chefs learn the art of skillfully plating dishes, ensuring the sensation that something is delicious before you even bite into it. Companies secure clientele with ads I sometimes wish were scratch-and-sniff, or by renting billboards on I-95 with the exact number of miles to the next location of their fast-food restaurant. And have you ever attempted to watch a cooking show on an empty stomach? I’d rather do 100 sit ups.

Beautiful salad.

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Kielbasa and White Bean Soup

Looking back to 2011, I can’t say I would necessarily do anything differently. Still, a new year brings the opportunity to make changes or improvements and start new routines. I’ve never been one to make drastic moves when it comes to resolutions, especially since mine never stick – you won’t ever hear me declare I’m starting a new fad diet. In fact, my plan for 2012 is to do the exact opposite.

Over the holidays I came to the realization that my life revolves around food; what I’m planning to make for dinner, where I’m spending my lunch break or which restaurant I choose for Sunday brunch, for example, are all decisions that I treat with great importance. Simply put, creating and eating great food makes me happy as a clam. In the New Year, my goal is to make the most of every meal whether it’s making an elaborate dinner for friends or eating my favorite dishes at some of Philadelphia’s best restaurants. Everything I make will be Clean Plate-worthy, and anything I eat this year will be worthwhile.

2012’s first dish in the East Berks kitchen was a filling kielbasa stew, thickened with white beans and laced with tomatoes and spinach. Every spoonful was purely perfect. Read More…

Tortellini Soup

Last week, summer poked its steamy little head back into our lives with a few days of heat. Thankfully, they were nothing compared to the high temperatures and humidity that we experienced over the sweaty summer of 2010. Still, it was enough to make the handful of comfortably crisp days from the week prior seem like a tease for those of us yearning for autumn.

When the seasons change, we tend to enact our yearly rituals to adapt. For example, when winter is looming we search for the box of heavy clothes, warm coats and snow boots hiding in the basement or attic, and cross our fingers for a blizzard-less season. As spring approaches we find an available weekend to clean the house, top to bottom, and open the windows for the first time in months. Several months later, some of us begin gearing up for swimsuit season with a strict diet that soon becomes a distant memory with the first taste of a hotdog from the grill. When autumn is around the corner, we pack away our beach clothes and exchange them for wool, denim and flannel. Just as I store my wardrobe from last season to make room for something more practical, I collect my summer recipes and place them at the bottom of the pile until next year.

When Mother Nature graced us with a few cooler days a few weeks ago, I took it as an opportunity to welcome fall foods back into my life. My brain is officially in harvest season, and the last week of warm weather couldn’t shake my craving for stews, ciders and warm casseroles. This recipe for Tortellini Soup was a compromise for the weather; the sweet, light taste of onions, tomatoes and spinach combined with a warm, meat-filled tortellini, bathed in broth.  Read More…

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